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Posts Tagged ‘federal trade commission’

Analytics Company Settles Charges For User Tracking

October 24th, 2012 10:25 admin View Comments

Privacy

An anonymous reader writes “A web analytics company has agreed to settle Federal Trade Commission charges that it violated federal law by using its web-tracking software that collected personal data without disclosing the extent of the information that it was collecting. The company, Compete Inc., also allegedly failed to honor promises it made to protect the personal data it collected. KISSmetrics, the developer and seller of the homonymous tool, has agreed to pay up to make the suit go away, but the the two plaintiffs will get only $5,000 each, while the rest of the money — more than half a million dollars — will go to their lawyers for legal fees.”

Source: Analytics Company Settles Charges For User Tracking

FTC Offers $50,000 For Best Way To Stop Robocalls

October 19th, 2012 10:01 admin View Comments

Government

coondoggie writes “It’s not clear if the Federal Trade Commission is throwing up its hands at the problem or just wants some new ideas about how to combat it, but the agency is now offering $50,000 to anyone who can create what it calls an innovative way to block illegal commercial robocalls on landlines and mobile phones.”

Source: FTC Offers $50,000 For Best Way To Stop Robocalls

Google Building Privacy Red Team

August 22nd, 2012 08:16 admin View Comments

Google

Trailrunner7 writes “Google, which has come under fire for years for its privacy practices and recently settled a privacy related case with the Federal Trade Commission that resulted in a $22.5 million fine, is building out a privacy ‘red team,’ a group of people charged with finding and resolving privacy risks in the company’s products. The concept of a red team is one that’s been used in security for decades, with small teams of experts trying to break a given software application, get into a network or circumvent a security system as part of a penetration test or a similar engagement. The idea is sometimes applied in the real world as well, in the form of people attempting to gain entry to a secure facility or other restricted area.”

Source: Google Building Privacy Red Team

Google Fined $22.5M Over Safari Privacy Violation

August 9th, 2012 08:40 admin View Comments

Google

wiredmikey writes “The US Federal Trade Commission fined Google $22.5 million for violating the privacy of people who used rival Apple’s Safari web browser even after pledging not to do so. The FTC said Google had agreed with the commission in October 2011 not to place tracking cookies on or deliver targeted ads to Safari users, but then went ahead and did so. ‘For several months in 2011 and 2012, Google placed a certain advertising tracking cookie on the computers of Safari users who visited sites within Google’s DoubleClick advertising network,’ the FTC said in a statement. ‘Google had previously told these users they would automatically be opted out of such tracking.’ While Google agreed to the fine, it did NOT admit it had violated the earlier agreement.”

Source: Google Fined $22.5M Over Safari Privacy Violation

FTC To Revisit Robocall Menace

July 10th, 2012 07:58 admin View Comments

Government

coondoggie writes “While there are legal measures in place to stop most robocalls, the use of the annoying automated calling process seems to be on the rise. The Federal Trade Commission, which defined the rules that outlawed most robocalls in 2009 has taken notice and this October 18th will convene a robocall summit to examine the issues surrounding what even it called the growing robocall problem.” A true robocall summit would be a great way to field candidates for the Loebner Prize! But since these will be humans (regulators, etc), I hope, but doubt, they can somehow do something to stop the constant fraudulent robocalls I get from credit-card scammers. In the meantime, it’s good to keep a whistle handy.

Source: FTC To Revisit Robocall Menace

FTC Files Complaint Against Wyndham For Hotel Data Beaches

June 27th, 2012 06:22 admin View Comments

Security

coondoggie writes “A little over a month after the FBI warned travelers of an uptick in data being stolen via hotel Internet connections, the Federal Trade Commission has filed a complaint against Wyndham Worldwide Corporation and three of its subsidiaries for alleged data security failures that led to three data breaches at Wyndham hotels in less than two years.”

Source: FTC Files Complaint Against Wyndham For Hotel Data Beaches

FTC Files Complaint Against Wyndham For Hotel Data Breaches

June 27th, 2012 06:22 admin View Comments

Security

coondoggie writes “A little over a month after the FBI warned travelers of an uptick in data being stolen via hotel Internet connections, the Federal Trade Commission has filed a complaint against Wyndham Worldwide Corporation and three of its subsidiaries for alleged data security failures that led to three data breaches at Wyndham hotels in less than two years.”

Source: FTC Files Complaint Against Wyndham For Hotel Data Breaches

IE10 Will Have ‘Do Not Track’ On By Default

June 1st, 2012 06:18 admin View Comments

Internet Explorer

An anonymous reader writes “As Microsoft released the preview of the next version of its Internet Explorer browser, news that in Windows 8 the browser will be sending a ‘Do Not Track’ signal to Web sites by default must have shaken online advertising giants. ‘Consumers can change this default setting if they choose,’ Microsoft noted, but added that this decision reflects their commitment to providing Windows customers an experience that is ‘private by default’ in an era when so much user data is collected online.’ This step will make Internet Explorer 10 the first web browser with DNT on by default. And while the websites are not required to comply with the users’ do-not-track request, the DNT initiative — started by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission — is making good progress.”

Source: IE10 Will Have ‘Do Not Track’ On By Default

FTC Privacy Framework Pushes For Regulation of Data Brokers

March 27th, 2012 03:22 admin View Comments

Privacy

Trailrunner7 writes “The Federal Trade Commission has issued a new report (PDF) on consumer privacy and online tracking. Among the recommendations the commission makes is that data brokers make themselves known to consumers and be open and transparent about the data they collect. The FTC also says companies should be building privacy protections into their products by design, including implementing the Do Not Track mechanism once it’s finalized. Data brokers are essentially an unregulated group of companies that collect, store and sell information about consumers and their behaviors and buying preferences. Privacy advocates and some lawmakers have criticized the industry’s practices and called for some regulation. As a result, the FTC is recommending that the industry not only create a central site to inform consumers about the kinds of data they collect and sell, but also is pushing for legislation to address the industry’s problems.”

Source: FTC Privacy Framework Pushes For Regulation of Data Brokers

Obama’s Privacy Push Means Business As Usual For Web Firms

February 24th, 2012 02:00 admin View Comments

If the Obama administration wanted a simpler way to protect consumer privacy, it didn’t need to issue a dense report or pressure on Congress to pass laws increasing government oversight of the private sector – especially during an election year.

The White House simply needed to look in its own consumer protection playbook and take a page from its efforts to help credit card customers avoid crippling debt. Last year the Obama administration proposed rules for banks that require simple summaries of what their credit card agreements say; that followed similar rules requiring banks to show customers in monthly statements how long it would take to pay down their balance if they only paid the minimum amount due.

Instead, the Obama administration released the Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights in a Networked World Thursday, which lays out ideas for protecting consumers. The report calls for expanded Federal Trade Commission oversight of online privacy, but also gives companies a chance to help craft the new rules – if they even get past the current stage of voluntary guidelines.

“Delivering ‘free’ online services costs money, and there’s always some kind of trade-off. There’s value in personal information – even if it’s just used to target ads anonymously.” – Anthony Citrano, VP of Communications & Marketing of EdgeCast

Most of us have clicked “I Agree” without having fully read a privacy agreement when signing up for a social network, new app or highly-touted Web service. But most of us could probably make the time to read a list of bullet points outlining what the company can and cannot do with our private information once agree to the terms.

“Most privacy agreements are too long and filled with legalese,” said Anthony Citrano, VP of Communications & Marketing of EdgeCast, which voluntarily made an effort to clearly explain to customers how their data will be used. “By structuring policies with a high-level, ‘in a nutshell’ introduction, followed by a thorough list of the details, customers are more apt to understand where and how their data will be used and secured.”

Companies Get A Seat At The Table

Ieuan Jolly, a partner at Loeb & Loeb in New York, said yesterdays announcement does nothing more than let the United State catch up with countries that had already adopted similar policies to protect consumer privacy. The U.S. version differs, however, as the Obama administration needs to balance consumer protection with free enterprise.

“The proposed Bill of Rights…specifically asks all stakeholders – companies, online advertisers, and privacy and consumer groups – to participate in the process of developing and implementing voluntary codes of conduct,” Jolly said. “That may be good for businesses, since “the devil is in the details” and the industry may be able to influence the specifics of how a company would comply with the Bill of Rights.”

Facebook Weighs In

While yesterday’s report did not mention any companies by name, some portions seemed to target online heavyweights like Facebook. So much so that Facebook issued a statement even though it is in a quite period ahead of its initial public offering. Facebook Chief Privacy Officer-Policy Erin Egan “applauded” the Commerce Department’s privacy framework and said the company looks “forward to participating in the process.”

Indeed, consumers truly concerned about privacy may want to worry that the industry isn’t up-in-arms over the Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights. Trade group after trade group released press releases Thursday afternoon and evening, generally praising the report.

“By emphasizing that privacy practices should be flexible enough to accommodate the full range of consumer and business needs, the Administration’s plan will encourage continued innovation and drive economic growth,” Business Software Alliance CEO Robert Holleyman said in a statement. “Prescriptive technology mandates would stifle the development of new products and services, and discourage adoption of better privacy practices.”

Privacy Bill Not Needed

All of this means that – despite the report’s call on Congress to pass laws echoing its recommendations – legislation is unlikely.

“Today’s announcement shows us that voluntary codes of conduct are an effective means of companies ensuring are responsible custodians of consumer data,” said Dennis Dayman, Eloqua’s Chief Privacy and Security Officer. “Can this possibly lead to more discussion on draft legislation in the future? Sure it can, but the hope is that this won’t be needed.”

Most likely, what this all means is that companies will, for the most part, be able to continue doing business as usual.

“Delivering ‘free’ online services costs money, and there’s always some kind of trade-off. There’s value in personal information – even if it’s just used to target ads anonymously,” Citrano said.

Source: Obama’s Privacy Push Means Business As Usual For Web Firms